The Wellington Phoenix have further strengthened the club’s burgeoning academy, appointing three new coaches.
The Phoenix have appointed three new coaches, the first of which officially start with the academy today (Friday, September 1).
Nick Stanton has come aboard as the head of goalkeeping, having held a similar role across town at Olé Football Academy this year.
He replaces Ruben Parker, who was promoted to the Phoenix men’s first team last December.
Stanton will hold two roles at the Nix as he has also been appointed the women’s first team’s goalkeeper coach.
Jess Fuller and Luke Tongue are the new heads of pre-academy replacing Jesse Rawlings, who has left, after two successful years building the programme, to go on his OE.
Fuller has been the girls and women’s development officer at Southern Football since early 2022, during which time she has coached Southern United’s under-18 women’s team.
She is completing a Masters of Science in sport, exercise and health at the University of Otago and is soon to have her OFC/NZF B coaching licence.
Fuller will coach the academy’s under-15 girls team next year, replacing female development lead Katie Barrott who has taken charge of the women’s reserves.
Tongue came through the Wellington Phoenix academy and played for the club’s reserves and first team before moving to Christchurch to do a Bachelor of Sports Coaching at the University of Canterbury.
He has an OFC/NZF B coaching licence and has been the head of academy development at Cashmere Technical FC since 2019.
Tongue will take charge of the Phoenix under-17 boys team in the upcoming national youth league before coaching the academy’s under-15 boys side in 2024.
Academy technical director Steve Coleman believes Fuller and Tongue will bring “new energy” to their pre-academy programme.
“We are delighted to have them both join the academy,” Coleman said. “They will build on the unbelievable job that Jesse Rawlings started. Jesse did so well in the role we’ve had to find two people to replace him!
“Jess has been doing some amazing work at Southern Football and has great potential as a coach and leader within the women’s game.
“It’s great we can bring her to the academy to continue to build our women’s programme and give our pre-academy a female focus.
“Luke is our first academy graduate to return as a fulltime staff member and we are excited to have him re-join us.
“He has helped to build a really good programme at Cashmere Technical and we are looking forward to him bringing all of his experience to his new role.”
The Wellington Phoenix academy also plan to appoint a head of coaching in the near future.